El Tour de Tucson: Can GCN survive the largest bike race in America?

James ‘Hank’ Lowsley-Williams and Ollie Bridgewood head to Tucson for their latest cycling challenge

Clock10:34, Sunday 26th November 2023

Every year in November, thousands of cyclists make the pilgrimage to Tucson, Arizona. Nestled in the far southwestern corner of the USA, near the Mexico border, it’s a city oasis in the Sonoran Desert, surrounded by Saguaro cacti and sky islands - unique mountain ranges that jut out of the desert landscape.

It’s also the perfect base from which to tackle one of America’s best and toughest climbs, Mount Lemmon, but that’s not why all of these cyclists make the journey, although we’re sure many take the opportunity to ride it while they’re there. Instead, over seven thousand participants arrive in this small corner of the USA for the El Tour de Tucson: the largest cycling race in the country.

A 102-mile epic, it’s a serious challenge which attracts some of the best amateur riders in the country, not to mention a smattering of former pros. The fastest riders often complete the course in less than four hours, which is comfortably over 40kph - that’s seriously rapid!

Here at GCN, our presenters love a challenge, so James ‘Hank’ Lowsley-Williams and Ollie Bridgewood decided to make the journey across to see if they could mix it with the best riders at the race.

Ollie arrived fresh off the back of a challenge-packed year in which he conquered the 1000km-long Tour des Stations Ultimate 1000, before finishing 26th out of over 1000 starters at the Taiwan KOM Challenge. Both of those were climb-orientated events, but that wouldn’t be of much use in Tucson, with under 1000m of climbing on the menu.

Hank, on the other hand, is a man for the flat and should have been more suited to the parcours, but could he deliver on that potential to deliver a result?

Watch the full video at the top of this page to find out.

Feeling inspired? Here at GCN, we’re constantly setting our presenters new challenges. You can explore all of them on the GCN website, linked here.

Related Content

Link to Ollie Bridgewood’s Taiwan KOM Challenge bike: UCI illegal TRIGON AR01
YouTube video oOVuZb9XLfM

Ollie Bridgewood’s Taiwan KOM Challenge bike: UCI illegal TRIGON AR01

Having used it at the Tour des Stations, Ollie teamed up with the TRIGON AR01 again for the Taiwan KOM Challenge

Clock
Link to The world’s hardest hill climb: Can Ollie Bridgewood complete the Taiwan KOM Challenge?
YouTube video GG3Cs-xZ1Cc

The world’s hardest hill climb: Can Ollie Bridgewood complete the Taiwan KOM Challenge?

Ollie follows in the footsteps of many former WorldTour pros by attempting to conquer the mighty Wuling Pass and complete the world’s toughest hill climb

Clock
Link to Tour des Stations Ultimate 1000: Ollie Bridgewood's first ultra-endurance race
The hardest challenge we’ve ever done! | Tour Des Stations Ultimate 1000

Tour des Stations Ultimate 1000: Ollie Bridgewood's first ultra-endurance race

Could Ollie conquer one of the toughest ultra fondos in the world?

Clock
Link to Strava art of the Month: Year of the Dragon, Valentines, and a world record
The best Strava art of February 2024

Strava art of the Month: Year of the Dragon, Valentines, and a world record

February was a hotbed of GPS creativity – here's our round-up of the best efforts

Clock
Subscribe to the GCN Newsletter

Get the latest, most entertaining and best informed news, reviews, challenges, insights, analysis, competitions and offers - straight to your inbox